Protocorp International has introduced an image-based product that allows for instant retrieval of an entire signature card via computer, printer, or fax machine.

With the PCI/Signature Card System, banks can scan entire signature cards into a system which in turn indexes the items by account, bank location, ID code, name, and Social Security number.

When a teller needs a signature verified, he or she dials the operations center where the signatures are stored. The call is answered by a computer which searches the database, finds the particular signature, and electronically faxes the entire image back to the branch.

"By the time the teller is hanging up the phone, the fax is coming into the branch," said Keith Daniels, a consultant at International Bancshares Corp., a $2 billion bank holding company based in Laredo, Tex.

Move to Centralize

International Bancshares, the first bank to install this new product, has had the PCI/Signature Card System operational for two months. Mr. Daniels said the decision to purchase PCI/Signature Card System was a direct outgrowth of bank's move to centralize its accounting operation.

"Roughly 100,000 signature cards were shipped out of our 33 branches and into our operations center in San Antonio." he said. "Whenever tellers needed to verify signatures, they had to call our operations center where the card would be pulled from a large rotary file and faxed back. This cost us eight minutes per request: four at the teller side and four on the operations side."

Mr. Daniels also added that one the primary reasons why international Bancshares chose Protocorp was because its product included an image of the entire card, not just the signature by itself.

Plans for Other Areas

At International Bancshares, plans are in the works to use the system in other areas of the bank.

For example, a module that enables check processing personnel to verify signatures against a file of selected exceptions is currently being installed. Mr. Daniels said the bank is also exploring ways to use the system for managing credit file retrieval and disaster recovery functions.

Protocorp, based in Monroe, N.C., specializes in the development of data-archival and document imaging systems.

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